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I'm sorry I'm too busy to give this historic anniversary the long and loving treatment it deserves, but:

It isn't often that the world changes, in a way that's so big and dramatic and unmistakable that everybody in the world sits up and takes notice, that everybody everywhere is conscious they are experiencing History with a big History Channel capital-H. The world itself seems smaller at these moments, as we sense our connection to each other and to history and to all time. And when one of those real, history-pivoting moments happens, 9 times out of 10 the event is something bad--an assassination or a disaster or a sneak attack. How many times in an average life does the whole world change for the better, overnight? Those moments are worth remembering.

I met Lisa ([livejournal.com profile] papersource) ten years ago today. Happy anniversary, baby.

What did you think I was talking about?

(Further reading.)
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"This is the place," said Brigham Young, feverish and pockmarked by a painful arachnid-borne infestation known as the black measles, as his emigrating Mormons passed out of the Wasatch Mountains and caught their first glimpse of the Salt Lake Valley below. Which is to say, we're here, and Our Excellent Utah Adventure has begun.
 
I want to say something about the drive (spectacular and rejuvenating, must be all the lunar-ka soaked up along Eisenhower's ley lines, plus it's a mighty pretty country you've got here) and the summer that preceded it (which obliged the rejuvenation) and about Salt Lake City and Utah and our careful prep course of sensitive cultural immersion (Dogs in the Vineyard, Under the Banner of Heaven, and one season of Big Love), and the job and the house and all that, but if I wait to write it all up properly and in order, before I turn around it will be December and it will never get done.
 
So remembering Charles Fort's dictum about measuring a circle, I'll begin anywhere, with my first day at work, and the first two conversations I had with the department chair. I know these were both obligatory legal formalities but the juxtaposition did paint a picture: The first was about accommodating students who find their assigned readings offensive on religious or cultural grounds. Because you know there's loads of raunchy stuff in my history of communication syllabus.* The second was about students who bring concealed firearms to class. Because apparently they can.
 
Filed under "not in Canada anymore, or Massachusetts, for that matter."

*I guess the first reading does feature prostitutes and venereal disease.
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So E. has been in the hospital since Monday with some kind of infection. They've ruled out all the scary possibilities like meningitis and nobody is ultra concerned, but it is hard to sit with him there all covered with electrodes and IVs - he just doesn't have that much surface area to attach everything.

Plus the logistics of having one parent in the hospital with him at all times and then another parent taking care of a very energetic three-year-old at home. [livejournal.com profile] papersource and I see each other in the hospital twice a day - kiss, pass off the car keys and parking pass, and that's that. It gets old fast.

Last night, [livejournal.com profile] papersouce said, "We're like Ladyhawke." I HAD JUST BEEN THINKING THE EXACT SAME THING YO. We are geeks, wretched 80s geeks, but is there any doubt we were meant to be together?
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That was pretty sweet.

We watched the inauguration on the TV in the Centre for American Studies. There were like 50 students crammed into the little office and spilling out the door. [livejournal.com profile] papersource and the Ukelele are there on the Mall somewhere, but I've had no luck raising them on the cellphone.
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or, WAYS SHE IS LIKE HER DAD (First In a Series)



And you're so much like me
I'm sorry

It may be that all two year olds exhibit geek personality traits. Or that all geeks exhibit two year old personality traits. My sample size is too small to be sure. Of two year olds, that is. My sample size of geeks is pretty robust.

1. A List Is Not A Conversation,
but don't tell the Ukelele that. Here's a scene that gets replayed every couple of minutes at our house:

U: "Let's talk about Muppets!"
Me: [any response other than immediately listing Muppets]
U: "LET'S TALK ABOUT MUPPETS!"
Me: "Well, OK. Kermit the Frog is a Muppet."
U: "Kermit is green! And what else?" [means: "and who else?"]
Me: "And Fozzie Bear is a Muppet."
U: "Kermit and Fozzie sing 'Moving Right Along.' And what else?"
Me: "And Doctor Teeth is a Muppet."
U: "Doctor Teeth is so many colors! And what else?"
Me: [any response other than immediately naming another Muppet]
U: "AND WHAT ELSE?"
Me: "Well, which Muppet plays the drums?"
U: "Animal! And what else?"


And so on through pretty much every named Muppet, catching me if I repeat ("No, already DID talk about Fozzie!"), flipping out if I try to stop ("MORE MUPPETS!!!!"), and cataloging one or two facts about each one along the way ("Tatlo and Waldo [Statler and Waldorf] laugh like dis: HA HA HA!").

(some time later:)
U: "Oh! We didn't talk about New Alien!"
Me: "New Alien? I don't know that one."
U: "New Alien throws the fish!"
Me: "Oh, you mean Lew Zealand. No, I guess we didn't talk about him yet."
U: "AND WHAT ELSE?!!?"


She's also very interested in Muppet emotional states:

U: "Why Beaker is sad?"
Me: "Well, sometimes his friend Bunsen is not very careful when playing with him."
U: "And what else Muppet is sad?"
Me: "Uh, most of the Muppets are pretty happy, I think."
U: "WHAT ELSE MUPPET IS SAD?!!?"


[livejournal.com profile] papersource  makes me handle these conversations more often than not. She figures the obsessive memorization and recitation of pop culture data is my genetic imprint, not hers. For some reason.

Aha

Jan. 3rd, 2007 10:23 pm
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Tags: The best four days in history?

The annual wargame, roleplaying game, and dressing up like an elf convention GenCon (to which I have never been, by the way) bills itself as “the best four days in gaming.” Will the American Historical Association’s annual convention, which starts tomorrow in Atlanta, be the best four days in history? I’ll let you know–I’ll be there. If you’re going to be there too, let’s meet up: drop me a line using the AHA’s weirdly archaic message system, email me (electromail chez robmacdougall dot org, not com), or just look for the guy in the totally bitchin’ elf costume.

Originally posted at (the all new) Old is the New New. Leave a comment there and make me look popular.
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It's lame, perhaps achingly so, to break a three month LJ silence with nothing more than baby pictures, but my brain has atrophied to the point where this totally cracks me up:

Our hat for Xmsa know no bound. )

In other news, uh, hi! Sorry about the silent running: this term's been a bear, workwise. Just two more days and we're off to some sunny island somewhere with beaches and probably no internet. We'll be in DC the week between Xmas and New Year's (is anyone reading this in that vicinity?), then back home on the 31st. I hope you and yours are happy and well.

Random wistful observation: tomorrow is the three year anniversary of the final Unknown USA session. Face shooting! Ben in the Burning Man! The Wicked Witch of the West! Sinister conjoined pickled twins! I intend to observe the date with pancakes.

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I am not getting enough sleep.
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A few days have gone by, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the [livejournal.com profile] sneech515 / [livejournal.com profile] dilyshaner wedding last weekend. The weather didn't entirely cooperate, but thunderheads and sheets of rain were no match for Sean & Dilys' 40,000 watts of goofy cheer. Highlights included:

  • Customized vows so romantic they made the minister cry. Boo-ya, that's like thirty extra wedding points.
  • Giving all the guests clown noses and making them wear them.
  • Sean's surprise musical number. I've known him for 20 years, I think that's the first time I've ever seen him sing.
  • Yuki's debut on the social scene, at least among that circle of friends. She was a superstar, cooing and charming everyone from start to finish.
  • Hammered bridesmaids! (Technically, I'm thinking of one bridesmaid and one female usher. But they were a lot of fun.)
  • Ahem... my speech, of course: (Gammafodder's was great, too.)


Love warrants a post; this kind of mushiness warrants an open bar or at least an LJ cut. )Yeah, that's two killer "is it getting dusty in here?" wedding speeches I've linked to. I'm available for bar mitzvahs, telethons, and corporate functions.

Congratulations, guys. Thanks for a beautiful party.
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"OK, first question: why are you so awesome?"
--Bruce Springsteen to Puff Daddy, on MTV’s Fanatic (sort of)

You, Me, and Ukulele
Yesterday was the Ukulele’s three month birthday, and she just gets more and more awesome. She’s a pretty good-tempered kid, as far as I can judge, but on her birthday she celebrated by being several orders of magnitude more smiley and giggly and hilarious than she’s ever been before. It was so much fun. Last week was Ukulele’s first visit to Wolf Lake, and that went great, but I’m sorry her grandparents, aunts, and cousins didn’t get to see her as blissed out and tweaking as she was yesterday. I played with her all morning, then [livejournal.com profile] papersource took her to the movies with the Mommy Posse, and not even You, Me, and Dupree could dampen the birthday girl's spirits.

See, they've got these special baby-friendly matinees at the local Googolplex, where you are encouraged to bring your babies, and they don't dim the lights all the way, and you can park your stroller in the aisle, and you won't get shushed if your baby starts hollering or flinging poo at the screen. (It's kind of like every movie screening at Loews Assembly Square. Hey-O!) But they always pick the lamest movies. Maybe they've got a focus group of witless parents picking the flicks (sleep-deprived Mommy: "uh... what's the longest, quietest movie with the least light on the screen you have?"), but I think they're just being sadists. "You former urban hipster parents--you used to love going to the snooty big city rep theatres, didn't you? Thought you were sooooo trendy, discussing the new Wim Wenders and the Wong Kar-Wai. Well, there's no Wim or Wong for you now, grup-boy! So just how desperate are you to go the movies? Are you willing to sit through The Lake House? How about Click? Little Man? Just My Luck? Mwaa ha ha!"*

16x your RDA of Cuteness
OK, so I've never used "mood icons" or the "current mood" field on LiveJournal. No disrespect meant to you if you do, but to me, nothing says "LJ is not a serious blogging platform, LJ is for high school dream journalling and poems about goth unicorns" like having a field for "current mood." And I'm definitely not the sort of guy who would a make up an LJ mood theme or icon set entirely of pictures of his baby daughter.

Definitely.



That ought to cover it, don't you think? I think she's nailed every mood / emotion / expression I feel while reading or commenting on LiveJournal, from Rock! to WTF to TMI to MAN TRUE.

Bad Parenting 101
Even if you're not a parent, there are probably a number of basic health and safety tips for babies and toddlers that you've absorbed by osmosis over the years. Breastfeeding is healthier than bottle feeding, always put babies to sleep on their backs, etc. etc. You probably hear those things, shrug, and think "OK, fine by me, what do I care?" What I never realized before becoming a daddy was that the reason these bits of advice are repeated so frequently and stridently is that there are compelling reasons to do exactly the opposite. In other words: Bottle feeding is way easier than breastfeeding! And fun! Ukelele sleeps great on her front, and she sleeps longer too! And, as we've just discovered, a plastic bag makes a terrific toy! We put it under her bum and she flips out for the crinkling sound it makes as she kicks it. So now I know why you don't see warning messages that say, "this meat cleaver is not a toy" or, "this blowtorch is not a toy," but every plastic bag insists it's not a toy. Because actually, it is.

Yeah, we're bad parents. I can't wait until she's old enough to run with scissors.

*Answers: No, no, no, and yes. (What? We like Lindsay Lohan.)
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Early in the morning, full belly, clean bum
I got my cup of Cheerios in case I want some
Jacket, hat, diaper bag, carried out the door
And I know where we’re going cause we’ve been there before

First, thank you all so much for your emails and phone calls and congratulatory comments. The little one is doing great, and her mom is strong and brave and amazing, if a little tired. We still couldn't be more thrilled, and I can't wait to show Yuki off to all of you.

Blah Blah Blah Parenthood Parenthood Me Me Me
The closest analogy I can think of for what the last two weeks has felt like is falling in love. Falling deeply completely in love, 0 to 60 in five seconds. The same euphoria, the same fuzziness of head, the same inability to concentrate on anything except the object of my affections. Food tastes different. The weather's been gorgeous almost every day since she arrived, but I haven't noticed--or to the extent that I have, I've interpreted it as pathetic fallacy, merely the universe paying her tribute. I find myself flashing back to the last time I fell this hard for a girl.

I'll bet you're all thrilled I posted that. Because that's what people who don't have kids are looking for when they log on to the internet: "Boy, I'm dying to know what it's like to be a parent! Give me a treacly, narcissistic, self-satisfied post about breeding that glorifies the author and ever so subtly suggests my own life choices are lacking!" While people who already have kids are just on the edge of their seats to hear all the sage wisdom I've amassed in fourteen freaking days. I don't want to be That Dad, honest. I can't help it, though. Not yet. The "all baby all the time" phase will pass, I'm sure, but for now it remains in full effect.

Which is why God created LJ-cuts. )
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Please say hello to Yuki Josephine, born last night 2:43 am. She is perfect and healthy and beautiful and awesome and so is her mother. Yuki is shown here at about 30 minutes of age, weighing 8 pounds 0 ounces, and looking slightly dubious about the whole proposition.

Now I have to go back and stare at her some more.

NYX

Dec. 9th, 2005 12:05 am
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On Tuesday, I taught my last class of the semester. Time flies! I also made it to my nephew Porter’s preschool Christmas Concert, which was mucho cute but not so mucho in tune. By late Tuesday night I was shivering uncontrollably despite being huddled under every blanket in the house; Wednesday I suffered through a crazy fever complete with panicky hallucinations. The contents of my fever dreams were just lesson plans and to do lists, unfortunately—I’m no closer to unlocking the Hill Street Blues cipher. But by Wednesday night I felt a lot better, which is good, because this morning Lisa and I flew down to New York City for the weekend, which is where I’m writing this post.

We’re sub-sub-subletting an apartment in the East Village from a friend of a friend. It’s hilarious: it has one hugely impressive room with a giant picture window, a 10’ Christmas tree, and a high, vaulted ceiling… but that’s it. The bed is on a platform about two feet below that ceiling—you climb up a ladder through a trap door to get to it. Whee! We just had an astonishing multi-course dinner with our friend Drew who consented to take us to a crazy excellent yakitori place in the city, only very recently defiled by gaijin. Chicken sashimi—yes, it's what it sounds like—is alarmingly good.

Standard whoo travel bla bla bla post (plus a photo appropriate for the day). That is all.

Edit: Oh yeah, the other thing about the place we're staying in is the way we got the keys. The person whose place it is is actually in Canada this week, so she got a friend to drop a set of keys off at the corner deli, "Sambas, the Deli of Life." It was only when we arrived and Sambas, the deli-owner of life, said he had no freakin' idea what keys we were talking about that it occurred to me how fragile this plan was. One Seinfeld plotline later, the keys were revealed to have fallen behind the meats. Hakuna mazoola, all will be well, the circle deli of life.
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I am in Indianapolis.
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I don't normally find the webcomic PVP nearly as emotional as I did last week.

Which is another way of saying, [livejournal.com profile] papersource and I are pregnant.

Which is to say, she is. But I'm involved somehow.

The due date is late April. We found out in September—in fact, the first ultrasound was the day of my first class. We've had a couple of doctor's appointments and ultrasounds since then, and the Seamonkey (our current nom de fetus, though "Secret Squirrel" is also in contention) apparently has hands and feet and was about 63mm long last time we checked. L is doing very well. I'll let her decide for herself how much or how little she'd like to share with you about alternating nausea, narcolepsy, and craving for deviled eggs, but I can tell you that she is a rock star and a trooper and a machine. I love her so much.

Oddly, LJ doesn't seem to have a mood icon for "simultaneously thrilled, elated, scared as hell."

Edit: Thanks! for the congratulations and well-wishes that are already pinging in. But don't forget to share the love with [livejournal.com profile] papersource too. She told me I could spill the beans, but I'd feel bad if I hogged all the comments. :)
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The house is packed; we leave first thing tomorrow. I owe all the Bostonians reading this one more memory lane post, specifically about how entirely wonderful all of you are, but it will have to be written in Canada. Bye, everybody. Thanks.

2000

Jun. 19th, 2005 11:05 am
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Big Joe, Mike/Chuck, Steve and Rob on the Forest Moon of Allston. Little Joe is obviously R2, but I'm not sure who that makes C3P0.

A is for Allston )

I'm still beaming from last night's soiree and the previous night's dinner at [livejournal.com profile] jereblossom. Thanks, guys.

1999

Jun. 18th, 2005 11:53 am
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Hey, kids: do you remember 1999?



Do you remember when there was a New Economy and we called the internet "cyberspace" and websites "new media" and the stock market was going up and up and up and "nobody can be told what the Matrix is" and every week another kid was a software billionaire? In 1999, half my students were cutting classes to sweet-talk venture capitalists and launch IPOs, and I thought about when I was 12 and split my time between playing D&D and programming Apple BASIC, but then I only kept one of those geeky hobbies going over the years, and in 1999 I asked myself, is it possible I backed the wrong horse?

Well, do ya? )

1998

Jun. 17th, 2005 12:03 pm
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I'd better talk about 1998, because I'm three years into my memories of grad school, and I've managed to say nothing about school itself. Here goes. )

Don't forget: Doyle's, 3484 Washington Street in JP, tomorrow night at 7.

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